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Luxury and nature don’t always go hand-in-hand, but it is a marriage made in paradise at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, on the north coast of Puerto Rico. Nestled along two crescent beaches and surrounded by a tropical forest, the island’s only Forbes Five-Star Hotel reopened Oct. 1, 2018 after Hurricane Maria damaged the property in September 2017.
One of only three Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the world, the resort has the ambiance of a remote sanctuary surrounded by natural beauty and a rare level of personalized service.
Formerly a grapefruit and pineapple plantation, the land was first developed in 1958 by financier Laurance Rockefeller, who created an exclusive eco-resort that hosted many celebrities and presidents over the years. A devoted naturalist, Rockefeller strived to preserve the property’s virgin forest and created an 11-mile trail through the thick of it so his guests could immerse themselves in the lush green jungle. Guest can still enjoy the trail today.
The opulent accommodations at Dorado Beach include spacious guest rooms and one- and two-bedroom suites with oversized terraces overlooking the sea. Amenities include indoor/outdoor rainforest showers, deep soaking tubs and a French Press or espresso coffee machines. Select rooms have private plunge pools and rooftop terraces. For guests who prefer more secluded accommodations, private villas are available, including a three-bedroom penthouse.
The pièce de résistance, though, is Su Casa, a 1920s-era Spanish hacienda that has been restored to its former glory. The house boasts five bedrooms, maid’s quarters and a romantic courtyard. It is also available for use as an event space and is a popular setting for weddings.
Dorado Beach overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, where the coastline is composed of two crescent beaches, the east beach and the west beach. Both are pristine and suitable for swimming. There are also two large swimming pools, both with ocean views, where guests can relax in cozy cabanas or on sheltered beds and enjoy food and beverage service.
Speaking of food and beverages, guests have several dining options, including its signature fine dining restaurant serving Spanish cuisine, in addition to two casual beachside cafes: Positivo Sandbar, specializing in sushi and ceviche, and Encanto, dishing up grilled meats and seafood.
No visit to Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is complete without a visit to Spa Botánico, one of only two Forbes Five-Star spas in Puerto Rico. This five-acre oasis offers a variety of services including an exotic coffee and clove body scrub in a varied setting, including indoor or outdoor pavilions and two open-air tree houses. For the ultimate experience in pampering, consider the Spa Botánico Apothecary Ritual, a two-hour treatment featuring a custom blend of fresh and dried botanicals and massage oils created just for you.
It’s not all about relaxing at Dorado Beach, though. Guests looking for some action can find it on one of five tennis courts or three golf courses designed by legend Robert Trent Jones Sr. and renovated by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
Unique to Dorado Beach is Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment, a fun and educational program offering immersive excursions for children and adults. Led by trained naturalists, outings include kayak and snorkel tours, underwater photography tours and nighttime tours of coral reefs.
And for those who just can’t leave Fido at home alone, Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a pet-friendly hotel, welcoming fur babies up to 30 pounds. ■